Vaira is the Startup of the Week 4: Digitizing the house connection documentation process


Industry 4.0 & Logistics, IT & ICT

Simple house connection documentation is a very multi-layered process: customer onboarding, job creation, scheduling, surveying, and all the documentation. Digitization can help bring order and efficiency to this process. This is exactly what our Startup of the Week Vaira is dealing with. With their platform, home connection documentation can be automated and digitized. We spoke with CMO Dennis Bienkowski about Vaira’s solution.

Hello Dennis! Thanks for taking the time for us today. Let’s get right into it: Who are you at Vaira?

We are a team of currently 13 people from Paderborn with different specializations. We transform the processes, documentation. Also, we are surveying work of network operators, municipal utilities, and construction service providers and simplify their work.

How does this work?

Vaira is a software-as-a-service platform consisting of a web application (Vaira Office) and a smartphone app (Android/iOS). In the interaction of these two solutions, we can map all process steps digitally on a central platform, from the household customer to construction documentation and billing.

We designed The Vaira Office for office work. Network operators, public utilities and construction service providers can communicate with each other via chat, create and schedule orders, manage users and keep track of the progress of orders. Using the integrated workflow builder, entire process chains can be designed without extensive programming knowledge, so that later instantiations only have to be triggered, which then run fully automatically. A notification system keeps process participants up to date and informed about the status of their jobs at all times.

In real-time, all data is exchanged between the Vaira Office and the Vaira App. An installer in the field receives a message directly as soon as a new job is assigned to them. They can then select an order from his order list and process it. Besides, they can fill out prefabricated forms completely digitally, carry out surveys using only their smartphone via augmented reality – without any extra hardware such as a GPS antenna -, and much more. All collected data is directly available as digital data sets and is shared with all authorized process participants in a matter of seconds. 

Vaira follows three principles: Modularity, generalization, and user-friendliness. Our platform is built in such a way that process participants only need to use the features they need to complete their jobs. The interface allows Vaira to be flexibly connected to other ERP, SAP, and GIS systems, ensuring a smooth exchange of data. Also, the modularity allows us to easily add more features to Vaira. Instead of an individual software solution for individual players, we give users the opportunity to map their requirements flexibly and easily. We provide a construction kit in which users can intuitively map their own jobs and processes. After all, acceptance of the digital transformation stands and falls with the manageability and user-friendliness of digital solutions.

That sounds like a very comprehensive solution. What features make you stand out from your competitors?

Vaira offers the possibility to skip all process steps that have to do with the transmission of data through real-time synchronicity. Since we collect all data digitally, it also eliminates all process steps that involve scanning, printing, or manually transferring data to in-house ERP, SAP, or GIS systems. This can significantly reduce errors that are common when manually transferring paper into systems. Jobs are searchable and filterable, and process stakeholders can communicate directly through the platform and assign tasks to each other. The progress of jobs can be tracked live and priorities can be communicated quickly, even in the follow-up. Features such as a reporting module generate fully automated reports. 

The innovative surveying component enables fitters to carry out high-quality surveying quickly. That frees them from tedious after-hours office work on the construction site. Automatic plausibility checks and mandatory fields can be stored in the form fields, which drastically increases the quality and completeness of the documentation during the documentation process.

Vaira bypasses superfluous process steps, reduces the probability of errors, raises data quality, and accelerates the process. Less time, fewer costs, more overview.

An important unique selling point of Vaira is our holistic solution. We think of the construction site and its documentation as one process.  The platform does not only serve a single process participant but connects all players and enables a smooth exchange of data and work. In this way, construction site documentation can be carried out consistently digitally for the first time – including an innovative surveying component that enables everyone to carry out high-quality surveying.

How did you build a successful business model from that?

Currently, we are financing ourselves through larger project deals that pay directly into the final product. In addition, there are financed test deployments and the first license customers of the first basic version: Vaira Basic. These then run on the software-as-a-service principle (SaaS for short) – Vaira is therefore not purchased, but you pay for a license to the platform. Depending on the desired scope of features, the prices for orders, process instantiations, and users are automatically adjusted.

Compared to purchased software, the SaaS model also includes support, maintenance, and update services. Unlike purchased programs, Vaira does not become obsolete but is continuously developed further. We constantly add new functions, which can be flexibly implemented in the user’s own license. The user experience is also continuously improved.

You’ve just briefly mentioned potential customers, could you go into more detail about your target audience?

Our target group currently includes network operators, public utilities, and construction service providers, including surveyors, with the use case of the house connection process. In Germany alone, there are around 500,000 new house connections, 700,000 FTTH connections, 150,000 emergency and 25,000 dismantling orders per year. Existing buildings bring in another 100,000 connections. Normally, you need to document and measure all of them in the process. 

In theory, however, Vaira can also be used to map any other process. Public authorities and municipal administrations such as land registry offices, police and fire departments, and forestry have already shown interest in Vaira. Together with the Paderborn cadastral office, we are striving for the implementation of a funding project. By developing a module for splice documentation, we were also able to attract the attention of telecommunications providers in particular. Accordingly, the potential target group for our platform is large. 

Our focus is currently still on the German market. However, we have already been able to establish contacts in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Austria, and Switzerland via trade fairs. Through partnerships and projects with large international companies, we are also expanding our network beyond national borders. For example, we work together with Veolia and the fittings and piping system manufacturer Georg Fischer.

You are currently selling a basic version of your solution. Where do you want to go with Vaira and what successes have you already had?

Exactly, since last year we have been offering “Vaira Basic” for testing and productive use. With Vaira Basic, the complete documentation can already be carried out on the construction site on an order basis. The basic functions of Vaira Office are also fully usable and are being further developed. 

In the background, we have already been working for some time on a major upgrade for the app and the web application. This update will fully align the logic behind Vaira with process flows. The upgrade will be rolled out seamlessly and at no additional cost to all license customers in the respective app stores – in line with the principle of Software-as-a-Service. Vaira Office is constantly being developed further and all new features can be viewed directly.

We are currently developing Vaira on the basis of a project together with the municipal utility association Thüga, the German subsidiary of the French group Veolia and the municipal utility Braunschweig. This cooperation came about as a result of our participation and victory in the U-Start competition in March 2020. Our cooperation with Georg Fischer allows us to take our application to a new level. Also, since this fall, EWE AG has become a shareholder in Vaira, which gives us better access and insight into the market. In addition, we have been working with a major network operator on a project basis to further expand the platform approach.  

Increasingly, network operators, municipal utilities and construction service providers are also becoming aware of us through recommendations or web searches for digital solutions. Test deployments are being requested and productive uses of Vaira are also already in the pipeline. Especially in this unusual and difficult year, we have noticed that interest in process digitization has increased significantly. The industry is ready to optimize existing processes through far-reaching digital transformation – and we are very happy to help.

 

Dennis, thank you very much for the exciting interview! We wish you continued success. We are sure that we will hear a lot more from you. 

If you want to learn more about Vaira, you can have a look at theirInnoloft profile here.

Joulia is the Startup of the Week 3: Shower with heat recovery


Energy Efficiency and Environment

A sustainable shower? Maybe not the first thing you’d expect from a Startup of the Week. But the Swiss startup Joulia has implemented just that and has won multiple awards for its solution. We wanted to learn more about what the sustainable shower experience is all about. To do so, we caught up with CEO Reto Schmid in an interview.

Hello Reto! Nice of you to take time for us today. How would you pitch Joulia in one sentence?

Instead of flushing the valuable heat of the shower water down the drain, Joulia’s shower channels recover this energy and easily ensure sustainable showering enjoyment with full comfort.

How did you implement that?

In Joulia-Inline and Joulia-Twinline, the fresh cold water is fed into the heat exchanger, which is located directly in the shower channel, and over which the warm shower water flows.

This simple detour of the cold water line allows the energy of the outflowing shower water to be recovered where it accumulates. Neither complex components nor a control system is necessary for this highly efficient type of heat recovery.

We heat the cold water from 10°C to up to 25°C and reaches the shower mixer already preheated. Consequently, less hot water needs to be added there, which saves a lot of energy, CO2, and money. Due to the highly efficient design, Joulia-Inline can recover over 40% and Joulia-Twinline over 60% of the otherwise lost heat.

What other advantages does your approach offer?

Our design complies with the strict drinking water guidelines of KIWA, SVGW, WRAS & DVGW. In addition, the installation is simple and permanently reliable. 

The shower channels do not need electricity and with their double separation between fresh and wastewater, they have a high degree of safety.

We have received over 15 national and international awards for the idea, high efficiency, and easy handling. A nice recognition for our work.

What is your business model for this?

We offer our products to both sanitary companies, wholesalers, and resellers. Our heat exchangers are also distributed as OEM products by business partners, such as in Corian shower trays. Depending on the distribution channel, quantity, and target market, different pricing strategies exist. Currently, we are working together with specialists on the development of cleaning products and accessories.

Where are your shower channels used? Who is your target group?

At present, half of our business is in Switzerland and the other half is international. In Switzerland, we sell our products directly to plumbers, to sanitary wholesalers such as SABAG, Richner, the Bringhen Group, and HUG-Baustoffe, as well as to project-specific general contractors. Our products are used in the private, public, and semi-public sectors. In addition to bathroom conversions, the focus is on new buildings. 

Interesting are also places where many people meet few shower places, be it fitness centers, sports facilities, gyms, gymnasiums, and hotels. Increasingly, school facilities and employee showers of companies are also equipped with the Joulia shower channels.

Exports are becoming increasingly important. The strongest growth is currently in the Netherlands, where a local distributor sells our products. 

The following countries are also under development: Belgium, Japan, Faroe Islands, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Swaziland, and South Africa.

What phase are you currently in?

We are currently growing both nationally and internationally. In recent years, we have been able to equip more than 3,500 bathrooms with the WRG, and the trend is rising sharply. Thanks to a new strategic partnership, we are now continuing our internationalization and investing in further product development.

New markets sometimes require some time, as drinking water regulations are nationally regulated. So far we have the following certifications: SVGW (CH), KIWA (NL), WRAS (UK) , DVWG (DE). In process are Belgaqua (BEL) and Solarimpulse.

In the field of building labels, you can credit our products to Minergie as well as MUKEN. Looking ahead, other labels will be added, such as Passivhaus.

We look forward to all customers helping us with the goal of saving energy every day.

 

Reto, thank you very much for this exciting interview! We wish you continued success in the future.

If you want to know more about Joulia, you can read their profile in our network.

MotionMiners is the Startup of the Week 2: Analysis and optimization of manual processes


Industry 4.0 & Logistics, IT & ICT

Human flexibility and adaptability continue to play an important role in industrial value creation in the age of digitization. However, the analysis and optimization of manual work steps often proves to be costly and complicated. Our Startup of the Week, MotionMiners GmbH, uses Motion-Mining ® technology to automatically analyze and optimize manual work steps. We spoke with CEO Sascha Feldhorst to learn more about this technology and MotionMiners as a company.

Hello Sascha! Nice to have you here today. Let’s get right into it: What is Motion-Mining?

Motion-Mining ® enables an automatic analysis and optimization of manual work processes with regard to efficiency and ergonomics (e.g. determination of heat maps, travel, waiting and process times as well as unhealthy movement sequences). This all happens with the help of sensor technology and machine learning. As a result, it creates added value on both the employer and employee side.

How does Motion-Mining work?

Motion-Mining ® helps companies automatically analyze the efficiency and ergonomics of manual work processes. Using wearables, beacons (miniature radio sensors) and machine learning, we anonymize and collect process data to reveal hidden optimization potential. This allows process analysis to be performed without the need for a process engineer with a stopwatch and clipboard to document the entire process. Compared to today’s manual analyses (e.g. using REFA), this leads to a reduction in effort and ensures a 40 to 80 times larger data pool. 

If a customer decides to carry out a Motion Mining® project, we equip the work environment with beacons. The employees in the processes get wearables. Following the measurement, we evaluate the collected data using machine learning algorithms. Based on the data, our employees develop individual catalogs of measures and implementation priorities in close cooperation with the customers. In this way, we not only identify ways to make logistics processes more efficient, but also draw up implementation plans that customers can then follow up. If desired, the implementation of the optimization measures can be accompanied by success measurements. 

Motion-Mining ® is marketed in the form of various products and services. In consulting projects, MotionMiners employees analyze and optimize processes with the help of the technology. In addition, a motion Mining-Product solution, Manual Process Intelligence, has also been offered since 2019. The MPI is a combination of a hardware and a software license and enables customers to perform process analyses independently. In addition to fully comprehensive measurement equipment, the offer also includes access to the analysis dashboard. This allows users to create their own measurement scenarios and evaluate data according to selected key figures. They can use the results for their own optimization measures. 

In June 2020, we added the Motion-Mining® Tracing Solution (MMTS) to our portfolio. The MMTS is a combination of an app, micro radio transmitters and an analytics dashboard. While the solution has a lower level of data protection than the federal app, it can realize more accurate location and compliance with hygiene measures. The solution specifically targets business customers. In addition to the contact tracking options in the event of infection, our solution also provides various prevention options.

What is special about motion mining?

In contrast to manual analysis by human observation, where a process engineer manually documents the work processes, process recording using motion mining works automatically. The technology is based on sensors, beacons and a self-developed deep-learning algorithm that converts raw data into process metrics. Currently, multiple activities can be detected and tools and workspaces can also be identified. Our USPs include that measurement technology can be deployed without IT integration and can be set up and taken down with little lead time. In addition, we obtain the KPIs for process efficiency and ergonomics from the same dataset and the anonymity (according to DSGVO) of the employees is maintained at all times.

How have you integrated this form of automated analytics into a business model?

Our main source of revenue is currently still the service/consulting business. In addition, we have been offering our Motion Mining® product solution, Manual Process Intelligence (MPI), since last year. 

We bill the consulting service to customers via a consulting fee. The price varies depending on various factors such as the number of processes, employees, shifts as well as the complexity of the analysis questions. For the product, on the other hand, we charge a basic license fee. However, the license model also includes a usage-based price component. Against the backdrop of the Corona situation, we have also developed a tracing solution, a prevention tool, for use in companies. With the help of an app and additional radio transmitters, users of the Motion-Mining ® Tracing Solution can, among other things, trace infection chains, identify frequently frequented areas, and maintain safety distances and hygiene measures. To support this, the app provides real-time feedback. 

This informs the employee: 

  • If the contact time of 15 minutes is exceeded. 
  • For reminders of regular hand hygiene and ventilation of rooms (through the use of additional sensor technology). 
  • To warn of critical and high-traffic areas for contact reduction 
  • In case of infection to inform further measures

The Motion-Mining® Tracing Solution relieves employees and helps to avoid a company-wide lockdown.

What is your target group?

Our main source of income is currently still the Our current target market consists of various industrial companies. The focus is on companies in the production and logistics sectors. Here, for example, many repackaging, packaging, production and picking activities take place and automation is often not worthwhile due to short contract terms, high business dynamics or low margins. An initial pilot project was recently carried out in collaboration with a hospital. The aim in future is to win more customers from the health care sector. 

Our target group includes the logistics services, e-commerce, wholesale and retail, manufacturing, air freight and healthcare sectors. In addition, our customer base now also includes consulting companies that license the technology and use it as part of their own customer projects. 

At the moment, we are working primarily with companies in Germany. Our goal is to operate more internationally in the next few years. So far, we have sold consulting projects and licenses to Switzerland, the Netherlands and Malaysia.

Where do you stand right now with MotionMiners GmbH?

We are in the growth phase and are moving towards the next scaling stage. Among other things, this involves achieving a larger footprint with individual customers and also further professionalizing the production of measurement technology. We can already show more than 20 customer references, which we have gained in more than 40 consulting projects and from our product business. So far we were able to convince 15 customers to license our technology and have grown from 3 founders to a team of 30 without an investor. However, we are not averse to further growth and cooperation with investors.


Sascha, thank you very much for this exciting interview. We wish MotionMiners continued success, especially for 2021. 

If you want to learn more about MotionMiners, you can check out their Innoloft profile.

investify is the Startup of the Week 1: Customized investment solutions


Banking & Finance

The financial world is digitizing – and new challenges are emerging. For this, we need technology-based solutions. Our Startup of the Week investify provides these solutions. investify is a Luxembourgian-German technology and regulatory provider. Their goal: to improve investment actions through innovative solutions. We caught up with CEO Dr. Harald Brock for an interview to learn more about investify.

Hello Harald! Nice to have you here today. Tell us about what investify does briefly.

investify TECH was founded to solve the current challenges in the securities business in a technology-based way – our customers include renowned financials, such as banks etc., but also non-financials such as financial portals and technology companies.

How do you implement your mission technically?

The investify iP3 platform is the basis for customer-centric white label solutions. If required, our spectrum covers all processes from onboarding to customer service. This allows partners to focus on sales in the best possible way. 

With all our products, our platform approach and the automation of processes ensure that  we create not only high-quality but also efficient solutions.

Our partners’ investment solutions are developed from front-end, back-end, algorithmic and regulatory modules. Our microservice architecture allows us to achieve maximum customer centricity (tayloring) based on proven platform standards. This, together with the Software as a Service (SaaS) approach, significantly reduces implementation costs and risks.

If required, our API interfaces ensure comprehensive integration into the partner’s systems. Alternatively, our solutions can also be built completely autonomously and operated in standard cloud technologies.

What makes you stand out in the digital finance world?

Fewer and fewer customers want off-the-peg services. This is just as true for sneakers as it is for financial services. investify addresses this customer need and creates personalized products. This is how we achieve:

  • More customer satisfaction
  • More customer interaction
  • Higher willingness to recommend
  • Lower price sensitivity
  • Less comparability

In line with the mass customization approach, we make the necessary processes simple for partners and your customers, such as the selection of thematic investments as part of a core-satellite approach. Our fitting algorithms, for example, ensure that the services offered are a perfect match for customers and their risk appetite. 

One of our strengths is that, as a regulatory provider, we can take over regulated processes and activities for our partners within the framework of business process outsourcing (BPO) (loss threshold monitoring, reporting, etc.). Security and compliance are our top priorities.

Our regulatory modules are based on a financial portfolio manager license with the CSSF in Luxembourg. Within the framework of EU passporting, we can offer our services throughout Europe. As a technology-oriented company, we have also digitized numerous regulatory requirements and processes.

With our regulatory and digitalization offering, we support our partners in implementing state-of-the-art value creation architectures. Particularly in the current market environment, it is becoming increasingly important to outsource regulated and unregulated activities. This enables partners to save costs and improve their competitiveness.

We also offer comprehensive service packages for non-financials, enabling them to offer investment solutions even without their own license. In this case, investify acts, for example, legally as asset manager or closing agent under a brand of the B2B partner.

How did you build your business model?

We have three revenue streams: 

  1. setup fees: for connection of the platform and customization based on customer requirements
  2. assets under management (AuM) fees: for regulatory activities etc.
  3. software as a service (SaaS) fees: for the use of the software.

We adapt our pricing individually to the business model of our partners.

What is your target group?

We have a track record to be proud of! Renowned financials and non-financials from different sectors rely on investify’s excellent technology, regulatory and investment expertise.

Our target group consists of banks, insurance companies, financial service providers and asset managers, but also non-financials such as financial portals and technology companies.

Primarily, we operate in the German-speaking region, but we want to expand our sales network here. For example, there is also an English version of our B2B site where interested parties can find more information.

What are proud moments in the development of investify, that you like to look back on?

Our own Robo Advisor has been on the market since 12/2016 and has been continuously developed since then. In various performance comparisons, investify can be found in the top group and we are also regularly awarded in customer reviews (e.g. BankingCheck Award as best Robo-Advisor 2020).

Since 2018, we have also steadily expanded the circle of our B2B partnerships. The special feature is that our customers can obtain solutions in a modular system or completely individual solutions. This gives each partner the opportunity to contribute their individual strengths and corporate values and, as a consequence, to focus completely on their core competencies.

 

Harald, thank you very much for this exciting interview. We wish you continued success, especially in 2021. 

If you want to learn more about investify, just check out their Innoloft profile.

Smart-me is the Startup of the Week 51: Energy of the future


Energy & Environment, Energy Efficiency and Environment

The decentralization of energy systems is a consequence of the rapid changes in the energy industry. We expect these changes to increase in the coming years in particular. Decentralization and digitalization pose new challenges for control at all grid levels, which is why new solutions are needed. Our Startup of the Week smart-me has developed precisely such solutions. We discussed what these solutions look like with Martina Hickethier from smart-me.

Hello Martina! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. How would you describe smart-me in one sentence?

In short: energy in the digital age

An exciting and important topic. What exactly is the role of smart-me?

We develop both the energy measuring devices and the software needed for a comprehensive energy management system. 

But you are not the only ones to offer these services. What makes you stand out from your competitors?

Energy is used more efficiently with smart-me at both the household and distribution grid level. Because we develop both the energy meters and the cloud software to control energy in real-time. Why real-time? Thanks to renewable energies, energy systems will change rapidly in the coming years; they will become more digital and decentralized. And thus pose new challenges for control at all grid levels. Besides, the smart-me platform offers connectivity to numerous third-party systems. We are therefore a neutral provider and do not compete with smart home or smart energy manufacturers.

How did you turn it into a successful business model?

smart-me sells energy meters and energy management software. The latter is available by subscription or as a lifetime license.

Do you also operate internationally?

We concentrate on the DACH region. The European market is served by our subsidiary, smartRED GmbH in Germany. 

Electromobility plays a special role in the further development of the company. The sector coupling of real estate and mobility brings unique opportunities for optimizing self-consumption. That is why we are launching our own Pico charging station in 2021.

What special successes do you like looking back on?

Since its founding in 2014, over 100 partners have brought more than 55,000 measurement points into the cloud. The company consists of a 20-member team and has its headquater in Rotkreuz (ZG), Switzerland.

 

Martina, that brings us to the end of our interview. Thank you very much for the exciting conversation! We wish you continued success, especially for the launch of your own charging station next year!

If you want to learn more about smart-me, you can find out more on their profile in our network.

Lava-X is the Startup of the Week 50: Laser beam welding in a vacuum


Industry 4.0 & Logistics

Today’s Startup of the Week accompanies companies through the complete process development from the feasibility study, through component manufacturing as a contract manufacturer, to the implementation of the plant. Lava-X is an expert in the field of laser beam welding in a vacuum and received the “Rheinland Genial” innovation award last month. We met CEO Christian Otten in an interview to learn more about their technology.

 

Hello Christian! Thanks for being here today. Why don’t you explain to us briefly what you do at Lava-X?

We are solution providers for laser welding in a vacuum. We accompany our customers from feasibility to B-sample production to product-related production equipment.

What is special about your way of welding?

Our technology increases quality and productivity in laser welding while reducing investment and production costs.

To what extent is the quality and productivity of laser welding in vacuum increased?

If we use our technology, we can make pore-free and crack-free welding seams possible even with difficult materials and mixed joints. The weld seam quality improves significantly. In addition, this type of welding offers an increase of the welding depth or reduction of the laser power at the same welding depth. This reduces power consumption.

What services do you offer your customers?

Basically, we have 3 core services: consulting, contract manufacturing, and mechanical engineering.

New technology is only considered if it offers technological or economic advantages. In the best case, however, both! Within the scope of technology consulting, we inform companies about the possibilities of our technology and what exactly the benefits are for the companies’ products.

For contract manufacturing, we support our customers with feasibility studies, prototypes, or in series production.

In addition, we also offer production cells that are specially designed for laser beam welding in a vacuum.

Who are your customers?

Our customers are original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and are located in the automotive supply industry, sensor technology, and mechanical engineering. We also operate internationally.

In which phase are you currently?

We are in the growth phase. Four systems have been installed at well-known customers.

 

Christian, thank you for this exciting interview! We wish you continued success, especially in the coming year.

If you would like to learn more about Lava-X, please visit their Innoloft profile.

Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt is the Startup of the Week 49: Developing potentials


Uncategorized

How do you make a company fit for the future? That depends heavily on the employees. Those who master the spirit of innovation, creativity, and critical thinking also have a positive influence on the development of the company. However, these skills need to be trained and educated so that employees become resilient and team-oriented personalities. Our Startup of the Week, the Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt, offers workshops to develop and strengthen peoples’ potential. Co-founder Florian Engel explained to us in an interview what her vision exactly is.

Hello Florian! Great that you are here today. Let’s start directly by pitching us the Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt.

We develop people in your company! Digital and analogue formats with brain and heart stimulate the enthusiasm of your employees and train skills that make the next step possible in the world of tomorrow.

Does the competence training take place in workshops?

Exactly! With the Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt we offer development programmes consisting of workshops and coaching. These, in turn, we divided into attendance formats, online workshops and individual coaching. We also offer a platform within our academy on which self-organised learning takes place. We combine the formats according to the jointly defined learning goal.

With our digital formats, we attach great importance to engaging the participants as in an analogue context. We achieve this in particular through the creative use of modern online tools and through individualised, interactive didactics in virtual space.

As psychologists and coaches, we cover the most relevant competences for tomorrow’s working world. This includes topics such as creativity and innovative spirit, critical thinking, working in a team or problem-solving in complex environments.

We develop personalities who will carry your company’s success!

What sets you apart from other coaches or training providers?

With the credo ‘don’t fix what’s wrong – build what’s strong’, we focus on developing the strengths and talents of your employees. We firmly believe that this approach also provides the greatest added value for the positive development and healthy growth of your company. We use psychological and coaching techniques. Our approach is thus holistically humanistic. In our work, both the individual and the organisation benefit.

We are digital natives! Many further digital education programmes that are currently on the market tend to make you drowsy rather than causing emotional commitment. We can do better! Our online workshops are intelligently prepared. They raise the bar for inspiring and exciting online workshop formats to a new level.

How did you build your business model for this?

Our business model consists of three pillars: The first pillar is leading workshops with the main focus on sustainability, positive psychology and design thinking. In both face-to-face and virtual formats, we make sure that the spark is ignited. So participants return to their workplace motivated and with new inspiration.

The second pillar is the professional coaching of individuals in physical or virtual space. Common objectives here are to solve current problems at the workplace, to create clarity in phases of reorientation or to solve existing conflicts between individuals or groups of individuals. For virtual coaching, we use a range of interactive online tools to make the process as effective and efficient as possible.

The third pillar is the Online Academy of the Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt. With this, we provide learning content in a standardised format to enable scalable and cost-effective training of employees. Depending on the learning objective, we plan these as individual measures or combined as a blended learning concept in combination with live workshops.

Who do you target with programmes?

We would like to work with companies that see their employees as the most important resource for mastering business challenges. Companies who care about the personal growth of their employees. We prepare your employees to manoeuvre resiliently and confidently through the increasingly complex world of work, not only today but also tomorrow!

Our target group is primarily medium-sized and small companies. Due to their scalability, the standardised learning products of the Online Academy are also ideally suited for training larger groups of employees in large companies.

What phase is the Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt currently in? 

We founded the Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt two years ago with the vision of helping to shape the working world of tomorrow. So far we have already supported more than 500 people in their change processes in our workshops and coaching sessions. 

We are a young company looking for clients with whom we can further develop our existing services and products and co-create experimental formats in a needs-oriented way! We offer inspiring and appreciative cooperation at eye level, which promotes healthy and sustainable growth for companies and employees.

 

Florian, that was already the last question! Many thanks for the exciting interview. We wish you from the Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt continued success, especially for the year 2021.

If you would like to find out more about the training courses offered by the Nachhaltigkeitswerkstatt, please visit their Innoloft profile.

Rehappy is the Startup of the Week 48: Motivation and knowledge software for stroke patients


Uncategorized

A stroke poses great challenges for those affected. Patients need a lot of strength and patience to regain their lost abilities. The road to recovery often takes a long time and is very exhausting. Physical as well as emotional support is very important. Our Startup of the Week Rehappy has developed a digital solution to help stroke patients find their way back into life. Pavle Lederer from Rehappy met us for an interview on how this works.

Hello Pavle! Thanks for taking the time for us today. What is Rehappy?

Rehappy activates, informs, and accompanies stroke patients in their aftercare. We e work with an app, an energy band, and a web portal to bring their healthcare into the digital age and pave the way back into a happier life.

How exactly do you approach this issue?

We focus on the patients in the follow-up care to increase their self-efficacy and compliance through individual motivation and knowledge transfer. The goal is also to improve their therapy results in the long term. Because there is only one person who can change the consequences of a stroke: the patient himself!

Scientific studies show that every form of physical activity increases the plasticity of the brain (learning ability) and positive emotions further promote learning success. However, many patients are completely overwhelmed by the stroke and are unable to organize their everyday life in a new way. Therefore Rehappy accompanies the patients back on the way to a happier life. Through individual and targeted information, Rehappy shows the patient how the new life situation can be approached actively. We want to help them stay motivated – every day anew and always with a positive perspective.

Components of Rehappy are a certified app, an energy band, and a web portal. To ensure that each patient receives the support that is relevant to them, the Rehappy software adapts the content to the individual needs of each patient. The increased self-efficacy and compliance, as well as the positive conditioning, can reduce the rate of depressive traits, the loss of relearnt skills, and the rate of reinfarction.

The patient himself experiences short-term support in coping with his “life crisis stroke” and gains a higher quality of life in the long term. Cost units such as health insurance companies and pension insurance reduce the costs of care, both in the short term and especially in the long term.

What functions does Rehappy offer?

Patients wear the energy band in their everyday life. They receive daily feedback on their performance and the importance of their own recovery. In addition to motivating messages, they receive individually tailored content. This includes daily changing tips that explain the background to the therapies and offer support in dealing with administrative tasks. 

Rehappy is characterized by its adaptation to the patients’ needs. Based on the physical and emotional condition as well as the personality traits, the Rehappy software continuously adapts the individual support plan. The barrier-free app design allows easy and intuitive operation for physically limited users and smartphone novices.

At what stage are you with your product?

We were one of the first companies in Germany to apply as DIGA (Digital Health Application). Rehappy is currently operating on the second healthcare market. With the listing as DIGA and certified medical product, it will be possible to participate in the first health market.

The target group is relatively clear: stroke patients. Does the severity of the stroke make a difference in use?

Yes, of course. Rehappy is aimed at all stroke patients who are cognitively able to process the content conveyed and can operate their smartphone with one hand. In addition, success has already been achieved with patients who had suffered a stroke several years earlier.

There are 270,000 strokes every year in Germany alone, of which at least 85,000 patients fall into the rehab target group due to their state of health, age & affinity for technology (with an upward trend). In addition, there are over 1.4 million patients who live with the consequences of a stroke in Germany.

You have already mentioned that you are already present in the market. What is your vision for Rehappy? What have you already achieved?

As a certified medical device, our goal is to be a pioneer of therapy-accompanying digital health services for neurological diseases. 

Our software was selected as one of 119 companies on the shortlist for the Digital Health Award in 2019. We also won the healthy hub in 2019 and signed our first contract with the mhplus health insurance company.

 

Pavle, unfortunately, we have already reached the end of our interview. Thank you very much for the exciting interview. We wish you continued success at Rehappy! 

If you want to learn more about Rehappy, please visit their Innoloft profile.

Green-Y is the Startup of the Week 47: Affordable, Clean & Efficient Energy Storage System


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Storage, Energy Supply

The issue of green energy poses two major challenges: The storage of energy from green energy and the question of heat/cold generation. In the ideal world, this is achieved with a single device. For some, this may sound like a high cost and energy expenditure. Our Startup of the Week Green-Y uses the well-known compressed air storage technology and solves the above-mentioned problems, in an efficient and sustainable way. Dominik Schnarwiler, co-founder of Green-Y, tells us more about the technology in today’s interview.

Hello Dominik! Great, that you are here today. To get you started, why don’t you tell us what Green-Y does? 

Green-Y combines electricity storage and heating/cooling in one device. This is reducing costs and emissions from buildings.

An important mission. How exactly do you make this possible?

We base Green-Y on patented air reservoir technology. There are two main processes: The charging and discharging of the accumulator. When charging, we compress air, which requires electricity and generates heat. The compressed air is then temporarily stored in compressed air tanks.

When we unload, the air from the compressed air tanks expands again at a later stage, which recovers electricity and generates cold at the same time. Thus, it is combining electricity, heat, and cold in one device.

In principle, one knows this technology for a long time, which allows us to reduce risks, complexity, and costs by using standard components. Yet, the technology has now been decisively developed further and the energy density is increased by a factor of 3, doubling the efficiency of heating and cooling. As a result, Green-Y can be used to heat and cool efficiently in a decentralized manner, i.e. directly in the building, which in turn makes its use as an electricity storage device cheaper.

Green-Y can be used in buildings and industries where there is a need for electricity storage, heating and/or cooling. Typically, Green-Y optimizes the use of electricity from the grid and the internal consumption of e.g. photovoltaic electricity, heats rooms and hot water, and cools rooms and servers.

What is the unique selling point of Green-Y?

Green-Y is environmentally friendly and profitable. The customers benefit as follows:

  • The profit is increased by reducing energy costs, which results in low amortization periods.
  • We can reduce emissions by replacing fossil fuels and integrating renewable energies.
  • Green-Y is environmentally friendly and recyclable, as only air and water are used as working materials.

Compared to competing products, the battery and heat pump, Green-Y is more than 5 times cheaper and does not generate any environmentally harmful waste. The latter is mainly produced by the limited resources of lithium and cobalt in the battery and by the environmentally harmful refrigerants in the heat pump. Thus the combined approach brings the unique selling propositions that clearly set us apart from the competition.

How do you integrate your product into a lucrative business model?

Our business model is initially based on a one-off sales margin, supported by a recurring share of maintenance and repair. In the future, we plan to introduce other business models, such as a contracting model with the end customer, which will cut the high acquisition costs for the customer and result in attractive recurring revenues for us.

Initially, we are approaching the end customer directly with the first installations B2C. In doing so, we take the first step into the market and aim for a product/market fit. After that, the aim is to address the so-called multipliers as quickly as possible. In doing so, the device or a B2B license is sold to e.g. energy suppliers or heat pump manufacturers. This allows us to scale quickly and efficiently.

You have already briefly touched on your target group. Could you elaborate on this topic further?

Of course. The technology is scalable from small applications in the single-family home sector to medium-sized applications in trade and industry and large applications centrally at an energy supplier.

In the beginning, we are clearly focusing on medium-sized applications in the commercial and industrial sectors. The first two customer projects were secured in a Swiss office building. An ideal application was identified there for market entry.

The niche market for office buildings in Switzerland already represents an annual market volume of over CHF 200 million. After the first projects have been realized nationally, we are quickly aiming for the DACH sector before we also want to operate throughout Europe and intercontinental.

This all sounds like very exciting developments. Where do you stand now?

The patented technology is validated on a prototype in a laboratory environment. We were also able to secure our first two customer projects. The next big step is the realization of the pilot project at a customer’s site. Installation in the Swiss office building will start in 2021. After that, we plan to install the first commercial devices in early 2022. For this purpose, we are currently looking for 2-3 further customer projects.

At the same time, we were able to conclude a successful seed investment round in summer 2020. This secures our financing up to and including the pilot project. We plan a Series A financing round for the end of 2021 to enable the commercialization of the product.

We are currently looking for new team members and investors for the next investor round. Also, we want new strategic partners for market entry, and customer projects for early 2022. Are you interested? Contact us and join the journey into a green energy future!

 

Dominik, thank you very much for the exciting conversation! We wish Green-Y every success for the pilot projects and the search for investors. 

If you would like to learn more about Green-Y, you will find more interesting information on Green-Y’s profile in our innovation network.

AmbeRoad is the Startup of Week 46: Experts for handling company data


Uncategorized

“Say, where can I find that document from the meeting last week?” – Everybody knows this sentence. Especially when things have to be done quickly, you get lost in some folders and can’t find what you’re looking for. Now there is a solution: Our Startup of the Week ambeRoad has taken up the problem and developed special software that elegantly solves this problem. So that the employees finally find the data that they are looking for. How exactly does all this work? We spoke to Philipp Reißel, CEO of ambeRoad, about this.

Hello Philip! Thanks for taking the time for us today. What exactly is ambeRoad?

With our Enterprise Business Search Engine we can make hard-to-find company data easily accessible!

You use artificial intelligence for that, right? Which functions does your product offer exactly?

Exactly! Our product is a SaaS software, which can be used by companies to create added value. Our software ambeRise searches all company data for a specific search term. The user enters a search query into an intuitively designed search mask and receives the results from our software. In the background, we have a series of processes which search all internal company data sources with the help of artificial intelligence (Natural Language Processing, NLP). ambeRise places itself in front of the company’s data; i.e. one of the great advantages of ambeRise is that the data structure does not have to be changed.

In addition, existing access rights are respected and our NLP model intelligently extends the search query. ambeRise searches document titles, as well as the document contents of all authenticated documents for the extended search query. Finally, ambeRise intelligently sorts the results obtained according to relevance, whereby this is a continuous learning process. Since we function as an individual solution and thus avoid the costly and complex way of implementing a complete solution, our system is ready for use much faster.

What is the exact use case for such software? Why is your product useful?

Users of our software find documents and data in your company much faster than you would without our search engine. Everyone who has ever worked in a company probably knows it: You are looking for documents that you don’t need every day, you are looking for documents that you have worked on a long time ago, but you don’t know the exact wording for the search query anymore. Most conventional search engines fail to find these documents.

The next step of the search is the tedious clicking through all folders in complex server structures. Sometimes you are lucky and find the document, sometimes you are unlucky and have to fill in a document again or have to ask colleagues and additionally take up their time. The reason for the tedious search? Documents have not been saved according to the corresponding specifications, documents are saved in the wrong folders and servers or you do not know the corresponding keywords.

The added value of our product is clear: A search query in ambeRise and we find the document you are looking for! Thanks to our intelligent extension through the NLP model, ambeRise can also find documents if the user no longer knows exactly what keywords he is looking for. It thinks along with you. Even if colleagues are temporarily absent due to illness, quarantine, holidays, etc., the loss of knowledge can be compensated. Accordingly, the employees save a lot of time. They can use their time more effectively and with added value for the company.

How do companies pay for this?

Our business model is based on a pay-per-employee model. We charge a small monthly fee for each employee who uses our tool. This allows companies to plan their costs. A second product of ours, the amberAtlas, is an intelligent business directory. Companies can contact us for the purpose of sales optimisation, market characteristics or competitor analysis and we search live for all publicly available data on parameters specified by the customer. For us, a yellow pages directory is not just a simple extract from a database built up over years, but a daily updated list with all available information.

For whom is ambeRise suitable?

We address the B2B market. The industry is of secondary importance to us, as we retrain our Natural Language Processing model for each industry, so that corresponding technical terms do not pose a problem when searching. We tend to see the application area of ambeRise primarily in medium to large companies, as these companies have the corresponding data volumes. At the moment we operate in the DACH area, but in the medium term we would like to enter the international market.

Are you already present in the market?

We went through our proof of concept in the context of the KISS42 Challenge of the RAG AG. At RAG AG ambeRise will go into daily operation in the next few weeks. In addition, we were able to win the Digital Info Management Challenge of Siemens Energy at the Ruhrsummit 2020.

 

Philipp, thank you very much for the exciting interview! We will follow your further way and wish you a successful market entry!

If you want to learn more about ambeRise, you can find out more about them here.